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Obama May Ban Popular Rifle Ammo that Can Pierce Police Vests

The Obama administration may ban a type of ammunition used in one of the most popular types of rifles because it says the bullets can pierce a police officer’s protective vest when fired from a handgun, the Associated Press reports. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is proposing the ban of some types of 5.56 mm rounds used in widely available and popular AR-15-style rifles because the bullets can also be used in some new types of handguns.

The rule change would affect “M855 green tip” or “SS109” rounds with certain types of metal cores. People who already own the ammunition would be allowed to retain itt, but manufacturers would not be allowed to produce, sell, import or distribute it. In a letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)., objected to the rule change, saying it would “interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law-abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.” ATF is accepting public comment about the proposed change until March 16 at the email address APAComments@atf.gov.

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Three Child Shootings In Houston Prompt Sheriff To Begin Safety Campaign

The third child shooting in four days in Houston prompted Sheriff Adrian Garcia to promise a serious push to give away gun locks and to preach gun safety at every public meeting, reports the Houston Chronicle. "I beg of you, help us to keep from having to respond to tragedy that can be prevented," Garcia told a news conference after his deputies responded to a home where a 6-year-old had been shot by his brother. "I don't want another family to even have to fathom going through this terrible experience."

As gun issues go, preventing access by children rarely gets the publicity that Second Amendment fights do. The three local incidents were a poignant reminder that a small percentage who die every year carry special significance because they are children whose deaths would not have happened had adults close to them done what common sense, and often the law, call for. The weapons in these cases, all pistols, were found in a purse, backpack and under a bed. "Guns are very attractive to young children," said Jon Vernick of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. "Parents who think that their children don't know where they 'hide' their gun in the house are asking for trouble. That is quite a gamble to take."

 

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In Strong Economy, State Prisons Are Facing Major Staffing Shortages

More than 1.3 million people are incarcerated in U.S. prisons, and keeping those prisons running requires tens of thousands of corrections officers. NPR reports that some states are facing major staffing shortages. Much of this shortfall is because of the strong economy, but recruiters also are struggling with the job's cultural stigma. Cadets are in high demand in Wyoming and across the U.S. Wyoming is 20 percent short of its correctional staff, and Michigan, Kansas, Texas, and other states face similar shortfalls.

Some states are offering recruitment and retention bonuses, but for now, every shift has to be covered. That has officers working a lot of overtime; in Kansas, Oklahoma, and other states with severe shortages, overtime is mandatory. Leann Bertsch of the Association of State Correctional Administrators says that's a problem. "They're not meant to not have days off, they're not meant to work extraordinarily long shifts," she says. "That creates dangerous situations."

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L.A. Police Killing Of Homeless May May Test Video Release Policy

The Los Angeles police shooting of an unarmed homeless man may serve as an early test of how video from officer-worn cameras affects the investigation and public perception of such deadly encounters, says the Wall Street Journal. Police Chief Charlie Beck said two officers on the scene Sunday afternoon were wearing cameras, and that the footage captured provides a “unique perspective that we believe will be crucial in determining the propriety of the officer’s actions.”

Advocacy groups asked the police department to release all video in its possession to the public in an effort to ease simmering tensions between police and homeless people living on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, where the incident occurred. Beck said video wouldn’t be released at this time because of the continuing investigation. Police said the man “began fighting and resisting arrest” after being detained as a suspect in a robbery. Attempts to subdue the man with a Taser failed, and the officers shot him in a struggle over one of the officers’ handguns, police said.

 

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Three Guards Plead Guilty In Attica Beating Plea Deal To Avoid Imprisonment

Three guards accused of beating an inmate at New York State's Attica prison so severely that doctors had to insert a plate and six pins into his leg each pleaded guilty yesterday to a single misdemeanor charge of misconduct. The last-minute plea deal spared them prison in exchange for quitting their jobs. The resolution of the case came more than three years after corrections officers beat a 29-year-old inmate, George Williams, at the prison in western New York. He suffered two broken legs, broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a severe fracture of his eye socket.

“Let me be clear: This has never been about jail for these officers, even though they came dangerously close to that idea,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “This prosecution has always been about holding these officers accountable for their abuse of power and to, once and for all, get them out of the corrections profession.” Williams, who said he still had trauma from the beating on Aug. 11, 2011, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the three guards and another officer seeking damages. The prosecution was the first time any New York State corrections officers had been criminally charged with a nonsexual assault of an inmate, officials said. The three defendants would have faced a minimum of five years’ imprisonment if convicted.

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70,000 NRA Attendees To Hear GOP Presidential Candidates Next Month

Nearly every Republican presidential hopeful will be in Nashville on the same day next month to speak to one of the GOP's biggest constituencies, the National Rifle Association, the Tennessean reports. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are confirmed speakers at the NRA's Leadership Forum on April 10, part of the NRA's Annual Meeting.

They will be joined by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox. The NRA convention is set for Nashville's Music City Center from April 10 through April 12. The event was originally expected to draw 48,000 visitors when it was announced in 2010. Updated projections are for more than 70,000 attendees.

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Blanket CA Limits On Sex Offender Residences Voided By High Court

The California Supreme Court decided unanimously that blanket statewide restrictions on where sex offenders may live violate the constitutional rights of parolees in San Diego County and potentially elsewhere, reports the Los Angeles Times. The residential limits, passed by voters in 2006 as Jessica's Law, bar registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather, regardless of whether the crimes involved children. Sex offenders in San Diego challenged the restrictions, saying that they made it impossible to find a place to live.

 

 

 

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Judge's Son Sues NJ City For Falsely Calling Him A Fugitive In Database

A New Jersey judge’s son has sued the city of East Orange for falsely labeled him a fugitive in a statewide criminal database, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Kyle Hollar-Gregory, son of Superior Court Judge Michelle Hollar-Gregory, says he was falsely arrested and jailed because East Orange failed to remove him from the database. The man says his offer of a federal judicial clerkship was jeopardized by East Orange’s error.

Hollar-Gregory sued East Orange for civil rights violations, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The suit says Hollar-Gregory was charged with simple assault in East Orange in 2012. The suit was moved to another county and dismissed. East Orange “recklessly and negligently created and maintained a duplicate of the complaint in the statewide criminal records database, as if the complaint had not been transferred,” the suit said. East Orange erroneously listed Hollar-Gregory as an “absconder and bail-jumper,” and issued a warrant for his arrest, the suit said. He was later jailed, and his clerkship was delayed pending resolution of the error.

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Georgia Postpones Woman's Execution Over Drug Concerns

Georgia has postponed its first execution of a woman in 70 years because of concerns about the drug to be used in the lethal injection, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The pentobarbital was sent to an independent lab to check its potency and the test came back at an acceptable level, but during subsequent checks it appeared cloudy, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan. Officials called the pharmacist and decided to postpone the execution "out of an abundance of caution," she said.

Pentobarbital is the only drug used in Georgia executions. Kelly Renee Gissendaner was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. last night for the 1997 killing of her husband, Douglas. Courts had found Gissendaner had plotted the stabbing death of her husband by her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, who will be up for parole in eight years after accepting a life sentence and testifying against her. Gissendaner would have been the 16th woman put to death nationwide since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. About 1,400 men have been executed since then.

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TCR at a Glance

How to Build the ‘Perfect Cop’

February 27, 2015

Can community policing restore public trust in a profession shaken by national events? The Sacramento News & Review gets a mixed answer.

Study: Medical Identity Theft on the Rise

new & notable February 26, 2015

The number of patients victimized by medical fraud schemes jumped nearly 22 percent in 2014, according to an annual study by the Ponemon ...

How to Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform

new & notable February 25, 2015

Two new studies by the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group, highlight successful campaigns for changes to state criminal justice policy

There Goes the Judge

February 24, 2015

Once-sleepy “retention elections” for judges have become vulnerable to big-spending partisan campaigns.